Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

August, 2006
Regional Report

Replant Bare Spots

No need to put up with plants that aren't thriving. Pull them out and replace with fresh stock from your local nursery. I just had some petunias go south on me, and actually I'm delighted to have the opportunity of the new "open" space. I think I'll try nasturtiums next.

Mist Indoor Plants

Make sure your indoor plants have adequate humidity by misting at least daily, more frequently if you have the time. Use a humidity tray under plants filled with gravel. The gravel prevents roots from sitting in water and allows collected moisture to evaporate back up through the foliage.

Harvest Fruits and Veggies

Fruit and vegetables are usually ready to pick when they pull easily away from the stem. There are exceptions; zucchini, eggplant, okra, cucumbers, and melons should be harvested before they grow too big and tough. Tomatoes are ready when they pull away from the stem. Share what you can't use with local food banks, please.

Trim Overgrown Vines

Vines such as wisteria, ivy, trumpet vine, and clematis will escape into trees or buildings if not kept under control. Cut off long stringers that are headed for trouble. Check vining plants every few weeks throughout the growing season. They are a sneaky lot.

Start Chrysanthemum Cuttings

Chrysanthemums are champions in a fall garden. It's easy to start them from cuttings now to have dozens of new plants ready to replace faded summer beds later in the season. Take as many 2- to 4-inch cuttings from mature chrysanthemum plants as you think you will need. Remove the lower leaves, dip the cut end into rooting hormone, and place the prepared cutting in damp sand until roots form -- usually a few weeks. Keep the cuttings covered with clear plastic so they don't loose humidity. Once the little plants are going nicely, transplant into peat pots filled with fresh potting soil. Fertilize with half strength 22-14-14 until planting time in late September. Plant the peat pots directly into the ground and fertilize with 0-10-10 to encourage bloom.

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